Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

Iraq deploys special forces in Kirkuk amid Kurdish flag dispute

Middle East | 2019-01-10 15:04:29
Iraq deploys special forces in Kirkuk amid Kurdish flag dispute
Iraqi special forces deployed Thursday in Kirkuk after the raising of the Kurdish flag over a political party headquarters revived tensions more than a year after Baghdad seized the disputed northern city.

Iraq's counter-terrorism chief gave President Barham Saleh's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) until noon Friday to lower the red, white, green and yellow flag of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan.

Under Iraq's constitution, multi-ethnic Kirkuk province is controlled by the central government in Baghdad.

Kirkuk is one of several regions that Kurdish peshmerga fighters took over in 2014 as Daesh (ISIS) militants swept through much of northern and western Iraq.

Angered by an independence referendum held in the three provinces of Iraqi Kurdistan as well as in disputed border areas including Kirkuk, Baghdad deployed federal forces to retake the oil-rich province in 2017.

The vote saw more than 92 percent of Kurds back secession, but the federal government rejected the poll as "illegal," imposed economic penalties and seized the disputed Kirkuk oil fields, halting exports.

In December Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan announced a deal to resume oil exports from Kirkuk.

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, seen as a consensual figure who has settled disputes between Kurdistan and Baghdad in the past, appealed to Saleh after the flag was raised Tuesday evening.

Abdel Mahdi spoke by telephone to the president, who was on a visit to Qatar, the premier's office said.

Abdel Mahdi complained that flying the flag above party headquarters in Kirkuk is "a violation of the constitution."

He suggested the matter be referred to the Supreme Court, which had ruled the independence referendum was illegal.
AFP
Keywords:
Comments (0)

Post Your Comments

fill all fields below
*This confirmation code will prevent auto submit
X :Latest News
France questions if US support for NATO is 'perennial'      Turkey: Terror attacks in New Zealand organized      Islamophobia is on rise in Spain: Report      Netherlands: Shooter fires on relative, bystanders      Mosque attacks 'could happen in UK', says minister      Hundreds protest in Sudan, keep up pressure on Bashir      Deadly Palestinian attack puts security in focus before Israel polls      Pressure rises on Boeing over Ethiopia, Indonesia crash parallels